Deregulated estrogen metabolism in BRCA1 deficient cells induces chromosomal instability.

Kyle B. Matchett, Kienan Savage, Kevin Cooper, Julia Gorski, Lorenzo Manti, Derek Richard, Eliana Barros, Christopher Elliott, Paul Harkin

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Objectives: Germline mutations in BRCA1 predispose carriers to a high
incidence of breast and ovarian cancers. The BRCA1 protein functions to maintain
genomic stability via important roles in DNA repair, transcriptional regulation, and
post-replicative repair. Despite functions in processes essential in all cells, BRCA1
loss or mutation leads to tumours predominantly in estrogen-regulated tissues.
Here, we aim to determine if endogenous estrogen metabolites may be an initiator
of genomic instability in BRCA1 deficient cells.

Methods: We analysed DNA DSBs by ?H2AX, 53BP1, and pATM1981
foci and neutral comet assay, estrogen metabolite concentrations by LC-MS/MS,
and BRCA1 transcriptional regulation of metabolism genes by ChIP-chip, ChIP,
and qRT-PCR.

Results: We show that estrogen metabolism is perturbed in BRCA1 deficient
cells resulting in elevated production of 2-hydroxyestradiol (2-OHE2) and 4-hydroxyestradiol (4-OHE2), and decreased production of the protective metabolite
4-methoxyestradiol. We demonstrate that 2-OHE2 and 4-OHE2 treatment leads
to DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) in breast cells, and these DSBs were exacerbated
in both BRCA1 depleted cells and BRCA1 heterozygous cells (harbouring
185delAG mutation). Furthermore, the DSBs were not repaired efficiently in either
BRCA1 depleted or heterozygous cells, and we found that 2-OHE2 and 4-OHE2
treatment generates chromosomal aberrations in BRCA1 depleted cells. We suggest
that the increase in DNA DSBs in BRCA1 deficient cells is due to loss of
both BRCA1 transcriptional repression of estrogen metabolising genes (such as
CYP1A1 and CYP3A4) and loss of transcriptional activation of detoxification
genes (such as COMT).

Conclusions: We suggest that BRCA1 loss results in estrogen driven tumourigenesis
through a combination of increased expression of estrogen metabolising
enzymes and reduced expression of protective enzymes, coupled with a defect in
the repair of DNA DSBs induced by endogenous estrogen metabolites. The overall
effect being an exacerbation of genomic instability in estrogen regulated tissues in
BRCA1 mutation carriers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event4th International Symposium on Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer - Montreal, Canada
Duration: 25 Apr 201227 Apr 2012


Conference4th International Symposium on Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer


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